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Author Topic: recommend soldering station  (Read 13543 times)
AB1JX
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2012, 11:12:27 PM »

What I find annoying are the cheap ones that are supposedly temperature controlled are actually power controlled.  There's something like a light dimmer in there: you want to solder something big you need to turn it up first.  I've got a Velleman like that now, I had a cheap red Weller before.  No digital control, no thermostat in the tip clicking away.

They sound like a light dimmer in an HF radio too.

  Alan, ab1jx
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W9GB
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Posts: 2659




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« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2012, 10:56:57 AM »

Alan --

I totally understand your concern.  
One of the latest QST authors with a monthly column -- made that same mistake.
When I wrote him, he seem oblivious to the difference ....

Carl Weller's 1959 US Patent Application, in the Golden Age of minature vacuum tubes and leading edge of discrete germanium and silicon transistors,
Clearly explains the difference between TRUE TEMERATURE CONTROL (FEEDBACK LOOP) and POWER/VOLTAGE CONTROL (Electric Range cook-top / SCR, Light-dimmer).

Weller's TCP (24-volt) and W60/W100 (AC Line Voltage) with Magnistat (magnetic switch) were the FIRST in the early 1960s.  Electronics/Telco/Defense industries bought thousands of them.
Collins used them for S-Line and avionics radios assembly .... Grumman used them for Apollo Lunar Module (LM) assembly (harness/electronics).
====
For OKI / Metcal owners .. that design uses Carl Weller's 1959 patent for the Magni-stat switch and a very old 1901 patent (Edison or Westinghouse, others) for INDUCTION heating.  In other words, using RF to create the hand piece heat !!
Quote
But a word about the Tenma stations is in order.  I have found that the purchase price of them is typically so low, plus the fact that we get at least a year or two good service out of them, if and when they do need a part that is not available, the savvy technician can just toss the entire soldering station and order another and still be monetarily ahead of the game!  YMMV
Clark --
IMHO, I think that throw away attitude is wrong.  Expensive.
It further encourages poor Quailty from Eastern Asia.  
BTW, that philosophy did not work for US Automotive industry ...
and won't be around much longer because the cheap labor market is short term...

The Apple / Samsung lawsuit IS the game changer.  
Rampant copying of Intellectual Property (IP) now has a monetary price.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 11:10:48 AM by W9GB » Logged
WB6DGN
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Posts: 619




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« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2012, 11:39:07 PM »

Quote
For OKI / Metcal owners .. that design uses Carl Weller's 1959 patent for the Magni-stat switch and a very old 1901 patent (Edison or Westinghouse, others) for INDUCTION heating.  In other words, using RF to create the hand piece heat !!

Yes.  Interestingly, Metcal literature alludes to the "Curie principle" which provides the temperature feedback but says little about "induction heating", choosing only to mention the use of RF at 13.56 Mc.  I believe they did mention Weller being the first to use the change in magnetic properties to control temperature, however.  With this discussion I am really eager to try my new acquisition for myself but will be delayed a while longer due to my work area being torn apart for plumbing maintenance.
Tom
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AE5QB
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2012, 04:04:27 AM »

Plus 1 on Weller.  I recently bought a X-Tronic 6040 rework station.  Came with a soldering pencil and a hot air blower for surface mount work.  It was well under $100 and came with 8 or 10 different tips. Seemed like a good buy to me.  The problem is the tips are s h i t.  I don't know for sure but they must be zinc coated or something as they won't tin worth a dang.  Cheap is not better when it comes to soldering irons.  I don't care if I can buy 3 for the price of one, when I am soldering, it needs to get the job done.
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WB6DGN
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« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2012, 11:08:35 PM »

Quote
Seemed like a good buy to me.  The problem is the tips are s h i t.  I don't know for sure but they must be zinc coated or something as they won't tin worth a dang.

I bought one of the XYtronic units a while ago; think mine was the model 4000, though.  That is the unit that prompted my comments in an earlier post on this thread about the somewhat slow recovery response of the ceramic heater in the soldering pencil.  Other than that, though, which I suspect is characteristic of most irons with the ceramic heater, I was pretty pleased with the unit.  I admit, I was a bit apprehensive of the bright metal finish on the soldering tips but with proper initial tinning and appropriate temperature, the tips seemed to tin and retain solder as well as the Weller PT series did.  Again, this unit has not had enough use for me to get an idea of tip life though, but it will have to go some to even begin to compare with the Weller tips.  I have some of those that are well over thirty years old and frequently used in my commercial job that are still completely serviceable.  That said, I have never been one to come in to work and turn on the soldering iron and leave it on until I'm ready to walk out the door in the evening.  The irons have always been turned on when needed and turned off when that job was completed.  No modern soldering iron takes so long to heat up that it needs to be left on continuously unless, maybe, your job is as a "parts changer" where you are using the iron almost continuously.  So, while I believe that the Weller products are almost "bulletproof" and I haven't sufficient experience to comment on Metcal, I still will not hesitate to use the XYtronic station either.
Tom
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N7EKU
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Posts: 150




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« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2012, 11:26:36 AM »

Hi,

I love my Hakko 936.  I find the tips more durable than the ones on the Weller stations, but the Wellers are very good too.

Great tip selections on the Hakko, but like others mentioned make sure your tip has some mass to it even if it is a very fine one.  Hakko makes some extended thin ones that are really only for special difficult to reach situations.  Their shorter very fines ones are what you want for SMD work.

Cheers,

Mark.
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WB6DGN
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Posts: 619




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« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2012, 10:10:58 PM »

Quote
I love my Hakko 936.  I find the tips more durable than the ones on the Weller stations,

Quote
...but it will have to go some to even begin to compare with the Weller tips.  I have some of those that are well over thirty years old and frequently used in my commercial job that are still completely serviceable.

Tested over how long a period of time?  Didn't know the Hakko was manufactured over 30 years ago.  Time sure flies!
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 10:13:49 PM by WB6DGN » Logged
VK2TIL
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Posts: 344




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« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2012, 10:22:24 PM »

Hakko history;

http://www.hakko.com/english/company/profile/history.html

Sixty years old.
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ZENKI
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Posts: 997




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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2012, 02:22:11 AM »

At work we have tried every soldering iron in the business. The one with the longest  service life is the  Weller brand. The soldering irons at work are left on 24/7 and the Hakko and others  just lose their elements or  heating efficiency.  You always have to crank up the temperature every few months for compensation heat loss. This is despite a regular maintenance schedule.

In my humble opinion the Weller tips are the best in the business, they wet  very nicely and dont lose their ability to wet the tip with solder. Most other brands the tips need constant conditioning/tinning/heavy cleaning etc. The Weller tips clean nicely just on the wet sponge pad. The Metcals are nice if you can afford them. Tip wetting is very important if you do a lot of SMT re-work. If the tip cant take  wetting with a small amount of solder or paste it really makes your job hard. When you  do a lot of SMT re-work tip wetting is  one of the critical areas that  needs to be good. I also use  tip wet for removing SMT pin shorts using  the flick technique. If you tip wont wet or pick up small solder jobs you cant use these kind of quick re-work  tricks. Weller is my recommended brand.



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K8AI
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2012, 06:42:10 PM »

+1 on the Hakko 936 here as well. I've got one at work, had three at my last (aerospace industry) job and one at home now.

I'd go with 650F max and if you need "more heat", don't turn it up, use a bigger tip with more mass.
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N1XF
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2012, 03:57:55 PM »

Hakko FX-888.

Love it.

I have a few extra tips, the default tip is a little wide for most work.

It really is amazing how much better my soldering has become with the right tool.  No more cheap Radio Shack tool for me.
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W9GB
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Posts: 2659




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« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2012, 07:04:06 PM »

Quote from: N1XF
It really is amazing how much better my soldering has become with the right tool.  
No more cheap Radio Shack tool for me.
THAT fact has been true since the 1960s, with the first temperature controlled solder staitons (Weller TCP series).

The amateur radio community is very stubborn about CHEAP (Radio Shack irons, non-temeperature control imports) soldering equipment for a LONG TIME,
when everyone else (RC hobbyists, robotics builders, even audiophiles) have "Moved On" for soldering quality and repeatablity ... long ago.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 07:06:29 PM by W9GB » Logged
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